When I started the happy life challenge and I began to research what a person could do to truly change their life and live happier, every list I read included something about health. Some included moving your body and working out, others included your eating habits, and a few mentioned sleep patterns, but they all mentioned some form of health on the list. So for March I have decided to make “Healthy and Happy” the theme for the happy life challenge because I know that after you read this blog post you’ll see how being healthy can lead to a happier life and I hope it helps you on your own happiness journey.
There are so many parts to being healthy that I’ll be honest, I have no idea where to begin. I’m writing this with paragraphs of half written ideas and statements that have come to my head and are now written on my phone, a scratch of paper next to me and throughout this blog draft. Being healthy is such an interesting term to me because it can mean so many different things for each one of us. So I’m breaking this out into smaller sections that hopefully we can all relate to and give you something to take away from this post.
Move Your Body Everyday
If I can give you any tip for being happy, it is to move your body every single day. I don’t care how or when or where, but get up and get moving. Science tells us that when our body is moving, we do end up happier. I’m not going to go into all of those details, but if you want to read an article all about how exercise indeed makes you a happier person, read this one.
There are many ways to move your body. Find exercises you enjoy doing. Join a sports team. A local dance class. Take your dog on a walk. Go with your kids to the park and play. I made a goal to work out 5 days a week back in October and I am so happy to admit things are going really well. I use to work out 1-3 times a week (and a lot of the times it was just once) and so the fact that now I am working out 5 days has been incredible. I’ve been using the FitOn App (more info here) which I’ve been loving. It is on my phone and has a variety of different classes that range in difficulty, style, and duration.
Whatever you want to do, just make sure you are moving your body. You won’t regret it.
1.Write a list of your favorite workouts. Save them on a Pinterest board, have them on an app, or write them out on your phone. Be prepared with activities you like to do for those days you don’t want to work out. You can see some of my favorite saved workouts here.
2. Schedule out exactly when you are going to workout/move your body. If it is scheduled, it is easier to accomplish.
3. Clothes do matter. I know when I have cute workout clothes, I am much more likely to go running, head to the gym, take the dogs on a walk, or work out at home. Find some clothes you love and feel comfortable in to help. I also sometimes sleep in my workout pants or have my workout clothes laid out on the dresser to make getting ready to work out in the morning easier. Stay tuned for a blog post all about my favorite modest workout clothes coming later this month.
4. Track your progress. Make a goal and stick to it. Then track your progress and see how far you come. I have a sheet which I mark off every time that I work out. Seeing those boxes filled in is so exciting for me and helps me not want to leave one blank. Tracking how many sets I do or how many miles I ran that day in a certain amount of time, helps me see my progress and pushes me to continue.
I feel like I should say something about eating healthy, but honestly I’m the last person that should be giving this advice. I’m terrible at eating healthy. I hate cooking with a burning passion, and with my husband being late at work for half the year, it makes it really hard to cook a healthy meal for one, when a bowl of cereal sounds just fine. I will say though, when I plan out my meals on Sunday, make sure to eat healthy and smart, I physically feel better. Those are the days I’m more aware, alert, and have more energy, in turn helping me feel happier.
Since eating healthy has always been hard for me, and I understand it is different for every person, I wanted to give you my advice on how I’ve changed eating in my life. I decided that I needed to pick one area of eating that I could improve on. I’m not super into eating sweets or soda, so I felt like cutting something out wasn’t going to be my best option. That was when I decided to make sure that every day I ate at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable. That may sound easy or lame that I haven’t always done that, but this change has been hard. I’ve had to actively find time to put this into my life, but I’m so grateful I have.
1.Plan out your meals. The weeks I plan out what I’m eating and know that I have set aside a specific fruit and vegetable for the meal, helps me accomplish my goal. The days I forget to plan out are the days it is easier for me to just eat cereal or head to Taco Bell.
2. Drink water. Water is so important for our health and our bodies. Get a cute water bottle and carry it with you all day long. If you need, purchase those cute vinyl inserts that help you keep track of when you need to finish what amount of the water bottle by what time of day so you drink all you need.
3. Prepare a shopping list for your meals and make sure to write down specific healthy items such as fruits and vegetables. Or if you have the opposite problem and eat sweets too much, plan on only purchasing one package of Oreos instead of the Oreos, KitKats, and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream all in the same trip.
I’m a big believer in mental health and taking time to make it a priority. This month is more about physical health, but I still felt like I couldn’t end this post without a few tips on mental health. Read my blog post here all about self love and things to do to take care of your mental health.
1.Read Books, journal, and play brain games. Do things that help stretch your mind and require it to think outside of your normal, daily activities.
2. Be mindful. I wrote a whole blog post about my thoughts on mindfulness that you can read here.
3. Remember that your physical health can have a big impact on your mental health. You need both.
4. Take time to meditate during your day. Set aside the time so it doesn’t get pushed to the side. I’ve been meditating daily the last few months and it has been incredible for my mental health.
ROUTINES + DAILY TO DO’S
Having a morning and evening routine will help make sure you are creating time for the things you need to do both mentally and physically. Make a routine for both morning and night by writing down either a timeline of when you are accomplishing which items, or a checklist of things you must get done before you start your day or before you go to bed. I’ve added my list here. Feel free to download it and use it for yourself.
There are many little things you can do throughout the day to stay on top of your physical and mental health. I made this graphic for you to download as a daily reminder too. Some of these items include:
1.Take time to stretch your body.
2. Remember to have good posture.
3. Walk 7,000-10,000 steps a day.
4. At work, stand up and move around from time to time. Don’t sit all day long.
5. Take the stairs, not the elevator.
6. Take breaks throughout the day.
7. Get enough sleep
WHERE DO I START?
Do you ever read blog posts and then think, well those are all great ideas but where in the world do I even begin? How can I change my life to include these items that I really do want to do. Well I’ve been there over and over. I listen to a podcast or read a blog post and just think, those are great ideas….but how do I even begin to do all of that? That is why this year, I include a section in each of my posts helping you know where to start!
1.Start with 2 – 3 goals and go from there. If you feel like you don’t do any of the things I mentioned, don’t go full force and completely change it all. Slowly start by choosing 2 – 3 things from the list that you can accomplish and focus on. I would choose by starting a morning and evening routine and working out each day, but choose what you want and set a goal to complete those before adding more to your plate.
2. Start Simple: Things don’t need to be incredible or full force when you first start. When I first started exercising my 5 days a week, 2 of those days were walking the dogs, and 1 of those days included doing my back and neck stretches. It wasn’t anything crazy, but it was a start and it pushed me to do more and learn that I can make time for working out.
3. Set Goals: Write down what you are going to accomplish and look at it every day. Keep track of your progress and tell others what you are doing so they can keep you accountable.
4. Set Timers: I am such a fan of timers. I often will set a time on my phone for 45 minutes and then tell myself I can’t pick up my phone again until the timer goes off. This helps me to stay focused on what I’m doing and stick to my routine.
STRONGER THAN YOUR EXCUSES
An excuse is just a reason you appointed to not do something. YOU came up with that excuse. YOU can defeat it. You have the strength to say no to an excuse and yes to living the life you want. You are the only thing that is standing in your way, because guess what? You came up with the excuse in the first place.
We all have excuses. They are so easy to come up with and they very easily slide into our lives and can take over if we let them. We have 1,000 reasons why we shouldn’t do something, and frankly they are easy to come up with. But once you push yourself past those excuses and show how strong you are, you won’t regret it.
You HAVE to believe in yourself.
Finally, please learn to let go of things you can’t control and let go of the some future idea of how you should be right now. Too many times people let this idea of how they should be or eventually will be determine how they are right now, but that future does not exist until you create it. So stand up, push off those excuses and do the things you need to do today to create the future you want. Let go of the things you can’t control. Take ownership of what you can and become the healthy, happy person you want to be.
I’d love to hear how you feel like living a healthy life has increased your daily happiness. Share some of your favorite tips below.